Personal Branding 101

December 17, 2020

As 2020 winds down (thank goodness), we all will start looking towards the future. Making resolutions, setting goals, you know the kind of things I’m talking about. But how often do we sit down and think about how we present ourselves and the “personal brand” that we are putting out into the world?

A personal brand is a widely-recognized and largely-uniform perception or impression of an individual based on their experience, expertise, competencies, actions and/or achievements within a community, industry, or the marketplace at large.

Over the past few months, the Village has had the pleasure of learning about personal branding from two of the best in the business, Lauren Patrick & Bill Dickinson. Bill hosted a workshop called Do You Know You Have a Personal Brand? in October and Lauren taught a session for our Women + Tech Meetup in November.  I walked away from both sessions having learned so much about how I can better present myself to the world and what drives my passions. 

The 5 W’s + H of Your Personal Brand

  1. Why - Your personal mission statement
  2. Who - Family/Friends/Network/Future Customers
  3. What - Your product/service
  4. When - Your launch + their purchase (if needed) or point of engagement 
  5. Where - Your sales channels (social media, website, etc)
  6. How - All your marketing efforts

You can watch Lauren go through hers during her Women + Tech session in the recording here. All of these things can be applied whether you are starting a blog, an influencer instagram account, or starting a small business. 

Your story matters because it is your why. What are the things you want to be known for? Simon Sinek wrote a whole book about it. Start with your why. Why do you want to be presented a certain way? Why do you want to start your own business? Why do you want to volunteer with a nonprofit? By knowing your why, you can move onto your what and your how and create a personal mission statement. 

But what is a personal mission statement? A personal mission statement defines who you are as a person and identifies your purpose, whether that's in the office or simply in life. Bill said during his workshop, “If you want to lead effectively, both personally and professionally, you’ve got to be self aware and exercise self leadership”, so take some time to think about 5 words that you would use to describe yourself. Then ask 5 - 8 people in your life what words they would use to describe you. Having a list of words that represent you is a great first step to make when evaluating your personal brand.

Look back at that list of words that people used to describe you and use those in conjunction with your why to create a personal mission statement. Who are you and what do you want to be known for by the people in your network? 

From crafting your personal mission statement, you can move on to more concrete goals about what you want to create, when you want to create it, and how you can accomplish those goals. And a personal mission statement keeps you checking back in to make sure that the work you are doing is getting you closer to the person that you want to become. 

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to personal branding. Want to dive in deeper? Here are some of the resources that Bill & Lauren recommend:

Books to read


I’ll leave you with a quote from Lauren’s Women + Tech session, “What can you offer your community and how can that change the world?”

Happy holidays and cheers to a new year and personally branded you.

December 17, 2020
Hilton Thompson